The Leaps & Bounds Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Want to try Petbarn’s dog food brand? Then we have you covered. We paired up with canine nutritionists, veterinarians, and dog parents to test out dozens of Leaps and Bounds dog food varieties. After weeks of testing and plenty of comparing, we compiled this must-see guide.
Today, our experts have a Leaps and Bounds dog food review to help you solve all your doubts. Here’s everything you need to know about this affordable brand:
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Leaps & Bounds Dog Food Review
Leaps & Bounds - Overall 3 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Meat meals (kangaroo, poultry and/or beef), wholegrain cereals and cereal meals (including rice), vegetable meals and vegetables (derived from soybeans, peas, carrots), poultry fat, poultry digest, beet pulp (prebiotic dietary fibre), salt, fish oil (contains omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, Vegetable oil (linseed and/or canola), chicory root inulin (prebiotic), choline chloride, essential minerals and vitamins (Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Iodine, E, B5, B3, B2, B12, B1, A, D, B6, B9), garlic, kelp meal, natural antioxidants, yucca extract.
- Named Protein First: No (but meals are OK).
- Dog Food Type: Grain Inclusive & Grain Free.
- Recipe Range: Kangaroo & Vegetable or Chicken & White Fish with Rice or Chicken with Rice or Kangaroo or Beef & Vegetable + More
- Suitable For: Leaps & Bound's recipe range can be suitable for puppy, adult and senior dogs depending on the recipe.
- Cost: $$
- Australian Owned: Yes.
Taste & Digestibility 4/5
This is a highly palatable food, meaning most dogs enjoy eating it. Since the first ingredient in all recipes is meat and meat meal, it’s no wonder pups like it. Amongst our expert panel, there were very few complaints about gastrointestinal issues when feeding this brand, so if your dog isn’t sensitive it might be a good option.
However, if your pup has a history of food sensitivities, Leaps and Bounds might cause some issues. This brand tends to use blanket terms on the ingredient list of their kibble recipes, meaning specific percentages of every ingredient change according to availability and cost. As such, every bag can be very different according to the season.
If your dog is like mine and doesn’t take well to sudden diet changes, it’s important to slowly phase out the open bag by mixing new and old food. Keep this up for about a week, upping the new food until they are eating it exclusively. This will help you avoid gastrointestinal distress when changing bags.
Because it’s impossible to guarantee a smooth transition even between same-brand bags, our panel decided to take off 1 star.
When it comes to its ingredient list, Leaps and Bounds is about average for a non-branded food. There are two main options when it comes to their dog food recipes: regular and grain-free. Today, we’ll go over both to see which one fits your dog’s specific needs better.
The ingredient list starts with meat meal from poultry, fish, beef and or lamb. It’s nice to see meat as the first ingredient, especially at this price-point.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal in Dog Food.
Following meat, we have wholegrain cereals that can be either wheat or rice. This is where things start to get problematic. While dogs are omnivorous animals and can digest grains, these should be eaten in moderation. Cereals in particular have been a controversial addition to dog food. While dogs can eat them, they also tend to cause allergies among sensitive dogs. As such, the AKC mentions that:
This means that, when eaten in large quantities, wheat could jumpstart an allergic reaction. In general, it’s best to avoid wheat if your dog has a history of food allergies. In the case of Leaps and Bounds, we’re not thrilled with the high percentage of cereals in all their regular kibble recipes.
Leaps and Bounds grain-free recipe and ingredients
However, their grain-free line fares significantly better. After the same meat meal as the first ingredient, Leaps and Bounds grain-free kibble has vegetables and vegetable meals. These can include anything from field peas to soy bean, sweet potato and garlic. The third ingredient in their grain-free line is tapioca and potato starches. We consulted our expert panel to unpack what this means.
Peas and sweet potatoes are nice additions to dog food. Peas are high in vegetable proteins, but have a low glycemic index and provide nourishing fibre to your dog. Sweet potato has plenty of micronutrients, but might spike your dog’s blood sugar because of it’s a starchy root. Garlic is a controversial ingredient. According to Merck’s veterinary manual
When eaten in large quantities, garlic can cause hemolytic anemia. Other symptoms of garlic toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and abdominal pain. In spite of these results, certain brands include garlic within their ingredients. Garlic is only toxic when eaten in large amounts: at least 15 to 30 grams.
Considering a garlic clove is around 7 grams, your dog would have to eat many to get sick. On the flip side, garlic can be effective to boost hepatic nutrient absorption and can also be used as a flea preventative. Some dogs are more sensitive to garlic than others, so you’ll have to try it out for yourself to make a final decision.
This brand doesn’t disclose the specific percentages of each of these veggies. This probably means quantities change according to seasonal availability and costs. If your dog is especially sensitive to diet changes, or shouldn’t eat garlic in large quantities, this isn’t the right choice for you.
Finally, the third ingredient in all recipes, both regular and grain-free, is soy bean and/or chicken fat. It’s good to see a little extra fat added, since there’s a relatively low percentage overall (10% in the regular adult recipe). Keep in mind the grain-free recipes are a little higher in fat, which is good for your pup but not always great for adult dogs.
Protein Content 3/5
As we already mentioned, the first ingredient in all recipes is meat meal. According to the AAFCO, meat meal is a dehydrated animal protein concentrate that’s high in protein.  However, we don’t like that it states the meat can be sourced from either of those animals, which implies decisions are made based on seasonality to keep costs down. This also makes it impossible to know the specific percentages, so if your dog needs to avoid certain proteins this isn’t the brand for you.
Leaps and Bounds kibble recipes have adequate protein content, in line with AAFCO’s recommendation of at least 18%. As such, their grained recipes have around 24% protein, while the grain-free ones have 28%. While this might look good at first glance, our research panel quickly noticed that this protein doesn’t come exclusively from animal protein.
Both grained and grain-free recipes include soya bean within the first 3 ingredients. In fact, the grain-free recipes also include peas. These veggies are very high in protein, which probably accounts for a good chunk of the total protein percentage.
A good indicator as to where the bulk of that protein comes from is looking at the total fat content. The regular recipes have only 10% of fat. This isn’t good, because dogs take energy and healthy micronutrients from animal fat. The lower fat percentage also means there’s less meat overall.
However, grain-free recipes have around 14% of fat. While this isn’t the best, it’s significantly higher and probably means these recipes have more animal protein.
In general, at this price point the protein sources are fairly good. It would be nice to see more animal protein, but that would probably mean hiking up the price. Therefore, our panel agreed to give Leaps and Bounds 3 out of 5 in this category.
When it comes to extras, this brand fares reasonably well. Both grained and grain-free recipes have pretty similar additives, including beet pulp, oils and chicory root. Beet pulp provides bulk and fibre, helping your dog feel fuller, while the oils help with Omega -3 and -6. Finally, chicory root inulin adds prebiotic fibre to keep your dog’s tummy healthier.
Among the additives we don’t like, there’s salt and potassium chloride. Salt is used to increase palatability, but it can cause kidney problems among dogs. In general, dog food shouldn’t have added salt, although it’s a common ingredient. Potassium chloride is a potassium salt that also helps with flavour. However, it isn’t recommended in high doses for dogs with kidney issues, ulcers, heart disease or those at risk of dehydration .
Since we mostly like the additives in Leaps and Bounds dry kibble, our expert team gives it 3 out of 5.
As we already mentioned, there are two main lines: regular and grain-free. This brand features the most variety in their dry kibble line. In contrast, their canned and frozen options are very limited.
It’s important to note that while many recipes claim to be based around proteins other than chicken and beef (like kangaroo or crocodile), none of these exotic options use exclusively those protein sources. As such, both the kangaroo and crocodile options also have chicken and/or beef within the first 3 ingredients. This is key if you’re trying to feed a limited-ingredient diet to your pup, as you won’t be able to offer a single protein source with this brand.
On the other hand, Leaps and Bounds has options based on your dog’s age as well as their adult size. They also carry one recipe for sensitive skin, which my dog needs, and another for active pups.
Because of the misleading protein labelling, which is common in the industry, and limited recipes for sensitive and active dogs, we’re giving this 4 out of 5 stars.
Since this brand is made by Petbarn, the price is pretty reasonable. If you’re feeding a large dog or a pack, you can easily find 15 kg kibble bags as well as frozen food in 2.7 kg packs. This is probably more than enough for the average owner, and you’ll save even more by buying in bulk.
Because of the reasonable price, our panel gives Leaps and Bounds 5 out of 5.
Leaps & Bounds Puppy Food Review
This brand offers some puppy options, although their range isn’t especially wide. As such, you can find 3 regular recipes and 2 grain-free options.
In the regular line, you have the choice between all-breeds puppy (both as kibble and canned) and large-breed puppy (only as kibble). On the other hand, the grain-free options only have a puppy kibble and puppy frozen food, without special options for breed size.
While this might work if you have a medium to large puppy, mini and toy breeds could have a harder time chewing on the regular puppy kibble, which our expert team didn't appreciate very much.
Leaps and Bounds Frozen Food Review
While this brand’s dry food options aren’t particularly remarkable, our panel found their frozen food options to be very complete.
Taking for example the crocodile and veggies frozen recipe, it’s evident the composition is much more balanced than the dry kibble or canned food options. For starters, the first 5 (!) ingredients are animal protein of different kinds. These include crocodile and chicken meat, finely ground chicken bone and cartilage, lamb heart, liver and kidney.
I especially appreciate the addition of liver, heart and kidney since these give essential micronutrients to your pup. Following the bulk of the food, we have celery, carrots, apples, wheat and barley grass. The rest of the ingredient list is full of other goodies like whole egg, seaweed, probiotics and prebiotics.
A small caveat: in spite of the nice composition and the fact it is advertised as a "complete meal", our research team noticed that every portion has only 14% protein and 12% crude fats. This is below the AAFCO’s recommended 18% minimum protein. If you plan on making this frozen food the base of your dog’s diet, you’ll have to supplement with extra meat to make sure they’re getting a balanced diet.
Don’t Buy If…
While Leaps and Bounds is a good option for many pups and their owners, you might want to choose another brand if you:
My Final Verdict
This dog food is a reasonable option if you’re on a tight budget. Our research panel recommend going for their grain-free frozen options or the grain-free kibble if you’d rather stick to dry food.
Of course, this isn’t the best dog food out there, but for owners looking to feed a large pack or that can’t afford the super-premium brands, Leaps and Bounds is better than many.
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- Coile, C. May 19, 2021. "Can Dogs Eat Wheat And Other Grains?" American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 1, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-wheat/
- Burke, A. August 4, 2022. "Can Dogs Eat Garlic?" American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 1, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-garlic/
- "What’s in the Ingredients?" AAFCO Association of American Feed Control Officials. Retrieved May 1, 2023. https://www.aafco.org/consumers/understanding-pet-food/whats-in-the-ingredients-list/
- Gollakner,R. "Potassium Salts". VCA Animal Hospitals. Retrieved May 1, 2023. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/potassium-chloride